Yesterday I had a doctor’s appointment so I couldn’t go to the museum to sketch. This, however, didn’t prevent me from sketching, but it did force me to mentally shift gears a bit.
I’m a sketcher who enjoys sketching precisely, or I try to achieve some precision in my sketches. I like my sketches to reflect what I’m sketching, without a lot of loose and/or restated lines, casual approach to outline, etc. Depending on your view this is a good or bad thing and I’m not here to defend my approach; it’s just how my brain works. In point of fact, I’d like to do both loose and precise sketching but as a relatively new sketcher, sketching slowly fits my limited ability to truly ‘see’ and depict what I see.
Anyways, yesterday I got to the doctor’s office (he works out of a clinic) and I had to wait. Those of us waiting sit, while others stand in a short line, waiting to tell the receptionist about their own appointments. There’s not much to sketch, at least that sits still for any period of time.
There is, however, a 20-30 second period of time where each of the patients is standing in front of the receptionist and I had a clear view of them. So, I took out my S&B 4×6 sketchbook, my Pilot Prera, and I started quick sketching the people as they took their turn at the receptionist’s window. I did several of them before the doctor, all too soon, called my name. It was fun.
This is what those 30 second sketches look like. Not much to speak of but satisfying in some strange way. The second sketch is one in which I spent an extra 30 seconds, after the patient had left, adding some rough shading and darkening some outlines. More fun.
I should add that I’ve been critical of the many books and drawing courses that advocate students begin sketching by doing ‘gesture sketches’, which these most certainly are. A year ago, as a new sketcher, there is no way I could have done even these crude sketches in this short time frame. If you’re a newbie sketcher you know what I mean. Thus, while this was/is fun, I remain skeptical that it’s where you want to start as a sketcher.
I’m reminded of something my buddy Yvan has said to me several times. “You must draw slowly before you can draw quickly.” I think he’s right and the how-to-draw books could learn much from Yvan. I still can’t draw people well, whether I draw slowly or quickly. But because I’ve drawn a bunch of them slowly, and because I’ve studied (watched a lot) people, I’ve got a better idea of what I’ve got to capture when I’ve only got a few seconds to do so.
I have to say that I had a lot of fun in those few minutes in the doctor’s office and I hope I can improve my abilities to capture people quickly. I still like my slow, and I do mean REALLY slow, sketching approach, but sketching quickly is fun too. I feel there’s room for both in my life. What do you think about quick sketching?
Cheers — Larry